Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most successful NBA players ever – only after he got a push from Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Big Shaq was the most dominant player after Wilt Chamberlain – big shoes to fill but he did them with ease. He did it with such force, that it felt like the unstoppable force was easily moving the immovable object. While he did all of that, it still wasn’t translating to a winning record, because Michael Jordan happened.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wanted nothing to do with “empty stats” as one would call it. A player may put up all the points in the world, but if it does not put a finger on your ring, what’s the point? That is exactly what he had to say when a reporter asked his opinion about Shaq’s numbers. When Shaq heard what he said, it was the last straw.
He knew he had to do something to earn that respect back. His father had raised him a winner – he wasn’t that anymore. On an individual level, he was amazing – but the sport is a 5 man’s game. If he couldn’t win with Orlando, it was time to look for greener pastures. In purple and gold, he found the green – both in monetary terms and championships.
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Shaquille O’Neal turned out to be one of the best-known athletes of all time, all because of his drive to one-up everybody
Were it not for his laziness, Shaquille O’Neal would have been the one people talk about like how they do MJ. He had it all – power, drive, muscle, and presence. But he also had his Achilles heel just like any other – he did not want to be disciplined. An Athlete’s life is one of discipline, but after his 3 peat, Shaq just let go.
The big man grew not only in stature but around the waist as well. The once mountain of a man started to resemble a mountain of donuts and wings – he still could hoop though. While in his younger days it was his muscle that kept him in the paint, towards the end it was that cover for his younger self that he acquired that got him through it.
If he remained with Kobe Bryant and had his work ethic, there would be no doubt which duo would be the greatest. Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan may have had six rings, these guys could have had 10. The petty rivalry between them was the best for the league but was bad for the Lakers. Too bad they only had 8 years together.